Written by 8:30 am Featured, Pursue Greatness • One Comment

Put Up Your Own Weights

rack weights

Nothing irritates me more than seeing weights left on a barbell after someone finishes lifting. Or left on the ground next to a squat rack.

As if the effort required to unrack your barbell and carry the plates five feet over to rack them is too much of an effort after lifting weights.

Trust me, you didn’t lift that much or expend that much energy that you’re unable to rack your weights. And if you did, rest five minutes and then rack your weights.

It just tells me you’re lazy and lack personal responsibility.

In other words, you’re definitely not a Competitor.

It’s on me.

Michael Jordan was sitting at the back of his Chicago Bulls team bus in tears. It was June 1990 and Jordan’s Bulls had just been knocked out of the playoffs for the third straight year by Detroit’s “Bad Boy” Pistons. The NBA all-star was overcome with anger and sadness at yet another disappointing series loss to their Eastern Conference rivals. As he shared with Tony Robbins, he was preparing to erupt on his teammates about their poor play. He was tired of losing to Detroit and his thoughts were racing about how he felt it was his teammates’ fault they hadn’t won. They hadn’t been good enough in the series.

But in that moment, he was hit the realization that his current emotional state wasn’t going to change the situation. Crying about the loss wouldn’t help him win next year. Yelling at his teammates and blaming them wasn’t going to build a team capable of getting over their playoff hurdle.

Jordan said at that moment he realized he had to be better

It was that subsequent off-season that he poured himself into the weight room, forging himself into a bigger, stronger player. The following season the Jordan-led Bulls toppled the Pistons on their way to their first of three straight championships.

Jordan discovered that the change he desired started with him. It wasn’t on his teammates to elevate their play – it was on him. If he wanted to be a better team, he had to start by being a better player. His decision to take personal responsibility for every aspect of his play and team led him to becoming the greatest basketball player of all-time. 

Look in the mirror.

It’s easy for us to look to others to change our situation. It’s more convenient if someone else could come in and make the necessary changes for us. 

But leadership doesn’t start with someone else. It starts with us.

And it can start with something as simple as racking your weights.

Most people see this activity (or racking shopping carts) as someone else’s job. It’s not their job. They think that just because someone else may do it as part of their job, they can shrug off the responsibility of the mess they created in the first place.

If it’s not your job to clean up after yourself, then why would anyone else want to clean up after you?

Better yet – if you think you’re above the little things, why would anyone else want to follow you?

Quit Passing the Buck in Your Life

You may not be where exactly you want to be this moment in your life. But in order to improve your current situation, you need to accept the responsibility for your own actions in getting you here. Be aware of them. Acknowledge them. Then set out to correct them.

But it starts with owning those decisions first instead of shifting the responsibility to someone else.

  • “It’s their fault I’m always in this mess.”
  • “They are the reason I’m here.”
  • “I didn’t do anything.”

Even if that’s the majority of case, that’s simple you passing the responsibility off of your plate to try and absolve yourself from any wrongdoing. And I hate to break it, but no one’s perfect and blameless. The constant excuse making and shifting blame are the same people who

  • Piss all over the toilet seat and then not clean it up
  • Toss litter out of their car window on the highway
  • Take all of the credit when things go well but throw everyone else under the bus when it doesn’t.

Being a Competitor

A Competitor isn’t lulled into thinking they’re blameless and above everyone else. Like Jordan discovering that it was on him as a leader to set the tone and raise his game, it’s on you to step it up a level in your office and your home. If you desire others to do the same, you need to take responsibility for every area of your work and life and identify ways you can be a better contributor – and help others too.

Taking responsibility is a leader’s way of seizing the opportunity to solve their own problems. Taking responsibility is a leader’s way of cleaning up after themselves – even if they didn’t make the entire mess.

It’s understanding that not everything happening is their fault, but believing it’s on them as a leader to try and fix it.

Is it traffic’s fault that you’re late for a meeting? Or did you fail to take proper consideration of how long it may take to get there?

Is it the boss’ fault you weren’t promoted or is there room for you to improve your work so that there’s no question you’re the most valuable employee in your division?

A Competitor knows their work starts in the mirror first. Always see it as your responsibility.

Oh, and rack your weights every time.

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